hist-brewing: Postings???

bjm10 at cornell.edu bjm10 at cornell.edu
Wed Sep 17 07:52:27 PDT 1997

On Tue, 16 Sep 1997 allotta at earthlink.net wrote:

> Do to haveing no controls in malting & kilning grains, some grains were 
> dark & others pale.  Adding modern grains in an effort to reproduce 
> medievel recipes are accepted.  If not you are left to malt and kiln the 
> grains on your own to "reproduce" middle age recipes.  

First, while it is true that control was likely to not have been as
precise over a large lot as for modern methods, to say there was no
control at all is tantamount to saying that the Medievals could not make
steel, since they didn't know of the Bessemer process. 

As for the use of darker grains to reflect uneven kilning--it is one 
thing to use a darker malt, but entirely another to use a caramel/crystal 
malt.  Crystal malts are not just darker than pale malt, they are malted 
in an fashion that gives a very different result from simply overkilning.

The grains of an ordinary malt are sprouted and then kilned 
dry--something we are all familiar with.  The grains of a crystal malt 
are sprouted, then they are STEAM kilned, and brought to mashing 
temperature at a very high humidity--and held there.  This pre-mashes 
these malts, which is why they can be simply steeped and don't actually 
need mashing at home.  They are then kilned dry.  Resultant beers have 
different flavor characteristics than those made from undevenly-kilned 
normal malts.  Crystal malt is not interchangeable with dark malt.

However, there are dark malts (such as the Hugh Baird "brown malt") that 
aren't crystal malts, but also aren't as extremely dark as chocolate or 

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